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Defendant accused of shooting Colorado mother in driveway pleads not guilty to murder, other charges

Woman killed outside home in domestic violence-related shooting near Cherry Creek State Park
Posted at 1:51 PM, Dec 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-09 10:00:41-05

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — A man accused of fatally shooting his soon-to-be ex-wife in the driveway of her Denver-area neighborhood in March pleaded not guilty to murder and other domestic violence charges in Arapahoe County Court Friday.

During an arraignment hearing, prosecutors and lawyers for the defense agreed to speedy, six-day trial that is scheduled to start April 15, 2024 at 8:30 a.m.

David Samuel Lechner, then-45 years old, was taken into custody on March 30 in Arapahoe County after he allegedly shot and killed his soon-to-be ex-wife outside a home along the 5200 block of S. Geneva Way — southwest of Cherry Creek Reservoir in the Hills West at Cherry Creek neighborhood — that morning and then tried to flee from the scene in a car.

Woman killed outside home in DV-related shooting near Cherry Creek State Park

A witness purposefully crashed his van into the suspect's vehicle, according to an arrest affidavit.

Tracy Lee Lechner, 42, was identified as the victim. She died at the scene.

march 30 2023 domestic violence shooting in arapahoe county

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Affidavit: Witness tried to stop suspect from fleeing after fatal CO shooting

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The two were going through a divorce and had two young children.

As he was being arrested, deputies found a gun in a bag in the passenger seat, according to an affidavit. He had several stab wounds and was transported to a hospital. According to the affidavit, he "spontaneously uttered" multiple statements about "only trying to protect his kids," how "he could not take it anymore" and how "his ex-wife had been abusing their kids for several years."

David Lechner was charged with first-degree murder after deliberation, second-degree kidnapping, use of a stun gun, felony menacing with a real or simulated weapon.

During a bond hearing on June 29, Judge Theresa Slade said he had a history of failing to follow court orders. The allegations in the case indicate he is likely to intimidate and harass witnesses and victims, she added, before setting his bond to $100 million.

During that hearing, Tracy Lechner's brother, Benjamin Bloch, said his sister had been living in a rental property due to a flood in her home and David Lechner wasn't supposed to know where she lived due to a custody ruling. He said the suspect has "extreme narcissism," has a family with access to a private plane so he could possibly flee, and has disobeyed court orders before. He claimed David Lechner had not only abused his wife, but also his two children.

Tracy Lechner's mother, Natalie Bloch, said the defendant made their lives a living hell when he separated from her daughter. And then he executed her one day before the divorce was set to be finalized, she said. Her husband, Tracy Lechner's father, said David Lechner had allegedly lied to a family court judge, avoided paying childcare despite having access to "substantial funds," and had written several of their family's addresses down on paper found in his car.

In that hearing, the defense argued they didn't believe Lechner would flee and said he is willing to surrender his passport and wear a GPS device if given a lower bond.

During her funeral service in April, Cliff Bloch remembered his daughter as a loving and dedicated mother who would care for her children throughout the day and work all night running her law practice to support them. She touched many lives, volunteering, making meals for her sick friends, giving to charity and serving as a role model to her children, he said. Natalie Bloch said her daughter was so proud of her children and everything they did. But she was living "the horror" of an abused woman, though she bravely fought the court system to protect her kids, all while working, she said. She wanted to change the court system for herself and other victims of domestic violence.

Donations for the family of Tracy Lechner can be made here.

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